While being a landlord is rewarding and stressful, finding responsible tenants is only one of the hardships you have to go through. If you want your undertaking to succeed, you must be prepared for various emergency situations that may occur on your property. A slow or inadequate response during an emergency can cost you time, money, and effort and make you liable for negligence. Read on below as we discuss a few tips to help you prepare for an emergency.
What Is a Rental Emergency?
Landlords and Washington DC property managers must stay prepared for any type of emergency. But what kind of emergencies are we talking about? There may be several urgent scenarios that landlords must handle immediately. Here are a few examples of the most common emergencies in rental homes.
- Natural Disasters: Examples of natural disasters that may occur include earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, fires, etc.
- Security Breaches: Security breaches may include break-ins, burglary, vandalism, etc., which calls for an emergency.
- Tenant Emergency: Tenants may deal with critical health issues, involvement in crime, death on the property, etc. If any of these scenarios occur, landlords need to take immediate action.
- Utility Failure: If there’s no water, gas, or electricity, it’s an urgent issue that landlords or property managers must handle as soon as possible.
- Life-Threatening Conditions: Life-threatening conditions cannot wait. If there’s a gas leak, mold, insect infestation, etc., it needs to be taken care of immediately.
The main challenge for rental owners is that they’re not there during an emergency. As a result, your tenants must take the first step of notifying appropriate emergency services and you.
Your role as a landlord is to help your tenants protect their lives and possessions and help authorities and emergency responders do their job. The first step to protecting your tenants is to stay prepared for any emergency scenario.
Next, let’s go over how landlords and tenants can prepare for an emergency and stay on top of preventative measures.
How to Prepare for an Emergency
Preparing for an emergency is the first step in preventing property damage and keeping tenants safe. Bay Property Management Group is here to help property managers prepare for any emergency. If you want to learn how to prepare for any emergency, here are a few steps to take.
- Educate Your Tenants
- Know Your Tenants
- Keep Your Keys and Codes Organized
- Make an Emergency Calling List
- Advice Tenants to Get Renter’s Insurance
Educate Your Tenants
Most likely, tenants will be the ones dealing with emergencies first-hand. As such, it’s a good idea to provide your tenants with the necessary knowledge and tools. It helps to create and distribute an emergency plan that includes the following:
- A phone number to reach you 24/7
- Emergency exits on the property and the location of closest shelters.
- Phone numbers of emergency responders (medics, firefighters, police, etc.). Make sure your tenants know when to call you and when to dial 911.
- The definition of an emergency, as well as situations that don’t constitute emergencies, such as slow drains or minor drips. You still need to be notified about those, but not in the middle of the night.
- Helpful information about how to detect problems in the early stages.
Know Your Tenants
Another way to stay prepared for emergencies is by knowing your tenants. It’s easy if you only have one property, but if you own several apartments or the entire apartment building, things get complicated (our Baltimore property management pros know this from experience.)
No matter how busy you are, it’s essential to keep and update the list of your tenants. In addition, emergency responders might ask you to provide it to ensure everyone is accounted for.
Keep Your Keys and Codes Organized
Staying organized is crucial for landlords and property managers. For example, if there’s an emergency at one of your rentals, the necessary responders need to access the property quickly. If they can’t get into the property, it could delay the process of helping a tenant or saving your rental.
After all, medics or firefighters might need access to your locked basement, shed, garage, or another facility. So, make sure you have all the keys organized by property and accurately labeled – this could save someone’s life!
Make an Emergency Calling List
A flooded basement is not a reason to dial 911, but it’s still an emergency because the water causes inconvenience to your tenants and damages your property. How fast you respond matters a lot, so having a list of reliable contractors who can fix different problems is essential.
Create a calling list that includes names, numbers, emails, reliability, and availability of different contractors. Additionally, ensure that you have at least one contractor per category (plumber, electrician, waterproofer, mason, etc.) who provides 24/7 services. Finally, make copies of this list so you can access it anywhere: in your car, at home, at work, and even on the go.
Advise Tenants to Get Renter’s Insurance
It’s a common misunderstanding among tenants that in case their possessions get damaged, they will be covered under the landlord’s policy. However, this is not true, and it’s a good idea to inform your tenants about renter’s insurance.
Renter’s insurance covers damages or loss of a tenant’s items and protection against liability claims. It costs anywhere between $15 and $30 a month and will be helpful in case of property damage by fire, flood, storm, or theft.
Stay Prepared With Property Management
As you can see, the preparation might take some time, but it’s worth it in the end. After all, preparation leaves no room for panic and lets you respond to any crisis situation promptly and effectively. But does it feel like too much? Bay Property Management Group is here to help.
Luckily, our dedicated property managers can take care of everything for you. We have emergency plans set up for each of our clients, and being on call 24/7 is a part of our job. Contact BMG today to learn more about our comprehensive services in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC.